The hill shrine of Sabarimala will open for the Mandala-Makaravilakku season on November 15, with all COVID-19 protocols in place. Devotees will be allowed the following day, upon strict compliance with protocols.
The Mandala pooja will take place on December 26 afternoon. The temple will be closed on the same night with the Harivarasanam song. The shrine will open again in January with the Makaravillaku taking place on January 14. The temple will be closed after the Makaravilakku rituals.
Only those devotees who have registered on the virtual queue system by the state police will be allowed entry into the temple. According to guidelines issued by the state government, only a maximum of 1000 devotees will be allowed entry into the hill shrine from November 16 onwards. On weekends, 2000 pilgrims will be allowed entry. An expert committee which drafted the COVID-19 recommendations for the temple darshan said that devotees will be checked at Nilakkal once, even if they have carried their COVID-19 negative certificates with them.
All the devotees have to get themselves registered at the COVE 19 jagratha portal. At the entry points, devotees can pay and get themselves tested. The Pampa river will be closed to pilgrims as bathing in the river is prohibited. Night stay at the sannidhanam and near the Ganapathi temple etc is also prohibited and all lodges will remain closed to pilgrims.
Most importantly, devotees above 60-years-of age and below 10 will not be allowed, as they are part of the vulnerable category.
A COVID-19 negative certificate is mandatory for pilgrims wishing to visit the hill shrine, which opens to devotees on November 16. The crowds will be regulated by the Sabarimala VirtualQ system maintained by the Kerala police.
Those who are experiencing cough, cold and also those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are also requested to not visit the shrine. The recommendations also ask devotees to take a graded exercise program and a pulmonary rehabilitation program spread over weeks to ensure their physical fitness before undertaking the trek up to the hill shrine.